Chad. In early February, the capital, N’Djamena, was joined by a coalition of rebel forces that have been marching from their bases in Sudan throughout Chad to overthrow President Idriss Déby’s regime. The rebels quickly gained control of parts of the capital, but around the presidential palace, army forces held their ground.
Thousands of people fled N’Djamena, and France led the evacuation of French citizens and other Westerners. The French military force stationed in T. was reinforced but did not intervene in the fighting.
The EU decided to postpone the planned deployment of a security force of 3,700 men, including 200 Swedes. The force would be located in eastern Chad and in the Central African Republic to protect refugees from Darfur in Sudan. Chad accused Sudan of being behind the rebels’ actions in order to stop the EU force. In February, fighting took place in Darfur and thousands more refugees crossed the border to Chad. Déby called on the EU to quickly dispatch the protection force, and in mid-February, the first EUFOR forces were in place in Chad, among them some Swedes.
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The rebels soon withdrew from N’Djamena and the Chadian regime claimed to have regained control of the city. At least 160 people had been killed in the fighting and many of the victims were civilians. According to authorities, the deaths were several hundred.
As a result of the uprising, the Déby regime struck against the political opposition. Among other things, some leading opposition politicians were arrested. One of them, Ngarlejy Yorongar, managed to escape to Cameroon where he testified that his arrested colleague Ibni Oumar Muhamat Saleh had been beaten. Opposition politician Lol Mahamat Choua was also arrested.
The déby regime imposed a curfew in the capital and in six provinces in the south and east.
In March, for the sixth time in five years, Chad and Sudan signed a non-strike agreement with the hope of ending military conflicts across the border.
However, the rebel forces were not included in the agreement, and they threatened to continue the attempts to overthrow Déby as long as he did not want to talk about the division of power in Chad. In April, a possible sign of bargaining came when Déby appointed his adviser Youssouf Saleh Abbas as new prime minister. Abbas had previously switched from the opposition to Déby and he was expected to be assigned to hold talks with the rebels.
But the unrest continued. In June and July, fierce fighting took place between rebels and the army in eastern Chad, and the UN refugee agency UNHCR was forced to leave a number of refugee camps. The regime accused the EUFOR force of inaction when the rebels attacked and killed civilians. Over a hundred attacks against relief workers had occurred since the beginning of the year. At the same time, the local harvest was poor for the second year in a row and food prices rose.
In November, Chad and Sudan decided to re-establish their diplomatic relations.
According to Countryaah reports, the population of Chad in 2008 was 11,952,025, ranking number 74 in the world. The population growth rate was 3.430% yearly, and the population density was 9.4918 people per km2.
Population, society and rights
The growth rate of the Chadian population has recorded annual percentages of around 3%. The most significant demographic increases involved the southern regions with a more favorable climate than the north-central areas, dominated by the Sahara desert and the vast and arid plains of the Sahel. The population of Chad presents a great ethnolinguistic variety (more than 200 groups live in the country). Over the years, this heterogeneity has caused some disputes between ethnic groups which have developed mainly around the different models of social organization of the communities – nomadic, semi-nomadic and sedentary – and the different economic interests of the various regions (livestock, agriculture and trade).
The national education system is of a poor level, with insufficient results in qualitative and quantitative terms: education suffers from a significant lack of investment which, like the rest of social policies, is largely explained by the high level of insecurity national and with the authoritarian management of power. The statistics related to child labor, gender discrimination and daily living conditions are also negative: life expectancy at birth is low, just over 50 years. The population is very young, with a median age of 17.1 years.
In recent years, the humanitarian situation has progressively deteriorated due to the constant increase in refugees from western Sudan (about 368,290 people, according to UNHCR data) and from the Central African Republic (about 97,550 people). Numbers likely to rise further due to the persistent phenomenon of Islamic terrorism in the area.
Economy and energy
Livestock and agriculture remain the main activities of the active population, although in the last decade the primary sector has weighed less and less on the national gross domestic product: a trend that coincides with the growing income deriving from the export of oil. Since the early 2000s, a significant oil extraction activity has begun in Chad, which has made GDP grow dramatically. The export of crude oil takes place through a pipeline that reaches Cameroon from the country. The years following 2005 marked a strong setback in GDP growth which showed a very fluctuating trend also due to the drop in oil production. In any case, the estimates of the International Monetary Fund show a GDP growth rate of 6.9% in 2015 and a positive trend for the following years as well.
The main crop, which employs nearly a million Chadians, is cotton: a precious production for the national economy, but which every year risks being compromised by adverse climatic conditions, as well as by the unfair constraints of world trade. The primary sector accounts for approximately 52% of the GDP and employs more than 55% of the population.
Political instability, poor infrastructure, corruption of the administration and poor investment represent chronic deficits for the Chadian economy which, in fact, have inhibited the possibility of diversified development. Chad is at the bottom of the world rankings in terms of global competitiveness (143rd out of 144 countries evaluated by the Word Economic Forum), both in the annual ranking that the World Bank draws up by analyzing the rules and procedures necessary to undertake a business activity (183rd out of 189 countries).